It occured to me that I really don’t remember ever seeing one of those really old pulp SF cover space cruisers done in a modern CGI style. You know, the ones that look like a cross between a Zepellin and an express steam train:
This is an alternate design for the ship “Discovery” from the film 2001. In my view it is much inferior to the final version, but this is interesting. This one tends to self-shadow a lot for one thing, which makes it difficult to light. But note that the habitation sphere is identical to the final version used in the film – this element was about the only constant factor in the many design changes.
It is based on sketches in Chris Frayling’s excellent book “The 2001 Files”, and my version incorporates elements from several sketches.
I also did a turntable video of it, to show off the shape.
From other sketches it is clear that there are 48 fuel tanks just under the widest part of the vehicle.
Initial impressions are good, the book is heavy, with lots of pages. I was a bit surprised at the lack of a slip cover though.
But the meat of it is, of course, the illustrations. It is VERY heavily illustrated, and the vast majority of the pictures are new to me. The pictures main focus on the design history of all the major elements in the film, with many, many alternate designs that never made it into the finished film.
In many cases there are quite literally dozens and dozens of alternate designs, and it it genuinely fascinating to see how some fairly crude early attempts evolved into the iconic finished versions.
The illustrations are mainly line drawings or plans – there are some colour photographs, but these are not at all well presented, being more than a bit blurry in most cases.
The plans and diagrams make this an essential purchase for someone like me, and astronomical artist. I;m less show about the value to a more general audience, but if you love the design of the film, you will likely find it very satisfying.
I’ve not yet had a chance to read the text properly, but I did notice one mistake – an Ion Spaceship design by Erst Stuhlinger is described as a “Cruciform Space Station”. But speaking for myself, I am very happy to have it, and I am already twitching to turn some of the deigns into fully realised CGI!